Why I love my Leica M6 TTL

Charles Tumiotto Jackson
Jul 29 · 4 min read

The Leica M6 TTL is an — almost — mechanical rangefinder film camera from the very famous and premium brand Leica. It is built in Germany and was manufactured during the 80’s. It features a chrome body, a built-in light meter (that requires some batteries), a shutter speed dial and a Leica M mount. I have to say. The body feels very nice and solid. It has a nice weight to it, and it is very comfortable to hold. However, be careful during the winter because the body itself tends to get very cold quickly!

The main difference between the regular Leica M6 and the Leica M6 TTL is that the TTL version has TTL metering when you’re using flash. Plus the shutter speed dial is a little bigger, so it is easier to operate and rotate while you’re looking through the viewfinder. Moreover, this shutter speed dial turns in the opposite direction compared to a regular Leica M6. It is more practical as the orientation matches the information of the light meter that you can read in the viewfinder. It means that, if the arrow is pointing left, you have to rotate your shutter speed dial to the left and vice versa. Those two differences (the bigger shutter speed dial and the opposite direction) makes the Leica M6 TTL easier to shoot than the regular Leica M6 in my opinion.

My Leica M6 TTL

So, why do I love this camera? First, because it is very reliable. I mean, this camera is built like a tank, and it also works without a battery. The built-in light meter — which doesn’t work without battery obviously — is accurate enough never to miss a shot. But also, the Leica lenses are just exceptional! They’re all very sharp and pretty smooth to manual focus. The aperture ring is very soft so you can set your camera very quickly. All the markings on the lens make it easy to zone focus. As a mainly street photographer, I feel like the camera helps me and inspires me: it is very discrete and silent — perfect qualities to shoot in the streets — and framing is very pleasant. To sum up, this camera is effortless to use and fast to operate.

Of course, a Leica M6 TTL is not a cheap camera, and Leica lenses are also costly. But is it overpriced or overrated? I don’t think it is. You can still mount more affordable lenses like Zeiss or Voigtländer and keep very sharp and accurate results. Moreover, the built quality of Leica lenses is just insane, and I can promise your glass will last more than a lifetime. Oh, and did I mention that the prices of Leica pieces of equipment keep on rising? It might be an excellent opportunity to buy one now — as it is still possible and affordable to do so — try it for some time and then resell it… And it is still one of the most affordable Leica you can get. It might be an excellent way to give it a try. All the lenses still work on the newer digital M bodies anyway so the value will never go down. And who knows, perhaps you will fall in love with the brand and will want to purchase one of those tops of the line digital Leica M bodies!

Some people prefer the Leica M3 over the Leica M6. I haven’t shot the Leica M3 long enough to know if I would prefer it. However, it’s an excellent camera to shoot. Being able to keep both eyes open while shooting with a 50mm lens is a big plus. But as I mainly shoot a 35mm lens, the Leica M6seems like a better choice for me. Plus, there is no built-in light meter in the Leica M3. You can still manage to get a correct exposure using the Sunny 16 technique, but when the situation is tricky, it’s always convenient to have a built-in light meter to check.

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